Curb Appeal Basics

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The economy has forced many homeowners to revert to a “back to basics” mentality.  That does not mean, however, that you should allow your home to be anything less than a pleasure to come home to. Repairing a broken fence, or updating a failing roof, or even painting the front porch can bring life back to a worn out looking home.

Quality upgrades continue to add value. The return on remodeling investments remains strong, according to the National Association of Realtors. Not surprisingly, exterior improvements still lead the pack in terms of biggest bang for the buck, with siding and windows paying you back over 75 percent of their cost upon resale.

Exterior improvements should be in keeping with the scale and proportion of your house and fit in with the neighborhood. Do not stand out like a sore thumb. When picking paint colors, it’s best to match the intensity of your neighbors’ shades. If pale blues are the norm, try a creamy yellow. Contrast that with a more saturated accent color for shutters and doors, and a lighter one for windows and trim. Mature trees enhance the value of a home.  Do not remove old trees. Hire an arborist to trim it instead.  Maintain your landscaping.  Choose a mixture of plants for all seasons.

Your home’s front entry is the focal point of its curb appeal. Make a statement by giving your front door a blast of color with paint or by installing a custom wood door. Clean off any dirty spots around the knob, and use metal polish on the door fixtures. Your entry should also reflect the home’s interior, so choose a swag or a wreath that reflects your personal style

New house numbers, a special light fixture, and potted plants are inexpensive and go a long way toward dressing up an entry.

Before you apply stucco over those weathered clapboards for a clean, low-maintenance look, consider that restoring architectural details may offer more bang from your renovation dollar.

Low-voltage landscape lighting makes a huge impact on your home’s curb appeal while also providing safety and security. Fixtures can add accent lighting to trees or the house or can illuminate a walking path. If you aren’t able to use lights that require wiring, install solar fixtures.

In addition to adding beauty and value to your home, landscape curbing also helps to contain your landscaping, and even better yet, helps to prevent pesky weeds from creeping into your mulch and garden areas. The heaviness of the concrete provides a solid barrier between your beautiful landscaping and annoying weeds.

Source: “7 Rules for Winning Exteriors.” This Old House. Web. 13 Nov. 2012 – “20 Ways to Add Curb Appeal.” Better Homes and Gardens. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.

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